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Bhagavad Gītā Lesson 14

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Lesson XIV

(Sanskrit terms and names can be clicked for explanation)


The Holy One said:

“I shall again declare [to thee] the supreme, the best knowledge of all knowledge, knowing which all munis have reached perfection beyond this. (1)

“Having recourse to this knowledge, having [thus] attained unto my own being [sādharmyamāgatāh], they are not reborn even at the new emanation [sarge], nor are they disquieted during the pralaya [dissolution]. (2)

“My womb is Great Brahman. In it I place the embryo [of the universe]. Thence the production of all beings, O son of Bharata. (3)

“O son of Kuntī, of whatever forms are brought forth in all wombs, Great Brahman is the womb. I am the seed-bestowing sire. (4)

Sattva, rajas, tamas, these are the qualities brought forth by prakriti. O thou of mighty arms ! These [qualities] ensnare the Imbodied One [dehinam] in the body. (5)

“Among these, Sattva [Truth, Goodness], from its stainless nature a giver of light and free from ills, ensnares [the Undecaying One: the dehin] through attachment to pleasure and attachment to knowledge also, O sinless One ! (6)

Rajas [Passion], know thou to be of the nature of longing, spring from thirst and attachment [association]. This, O son of Kuntī, ensnares the Imbodied One [dehinam, Undecaying One] by bonds of action. (7)

Tamas [darkness, Gloom, therefore Error, Ignorance] know thou to be born of ignorance; it bewilders all imbodied Ones. This, O son of Bharata, ensnares by stupefying, sloth, and sleep. (8)

“Sattva causes clinging to pleasure; rajas to action, O son of Bharata. But tamas having enshrouded knowledge, causes clinging to indifference. (9)

Rajas and tamas being overcome, sattva springs forth, O son of Bharata. Rajas and sattva, then tamas; tamas and sattva, then rajas, in turn. (10)

“When in this body, the illumination [which is knowledge] comes forth from all [its] portals, then one should know that sattva hath grown [there]. (11)

“When rajas hath grown, O Bull of Bharata’s race, these come forth: greed, activity, exertion in [performance of ] acts, disquietude, envy. (12)

“Gloom and inactivity, confusion, and also bewilderment, these come forth in the growth of tamas, O child of Kuru’s race. (13)

“When, with sattva full-grown, the body-holder [soul] goeth to dissolution [of the body and lower parts], then he reaches the stainless worlds of those who know the highest [uttamavidām]. (14)

“Going to dissolution [pralayam] in rajas, he is born among those engaged in works; dying too, in tamas, he is born in wombs of ignorance. (15)

“Of good action, they say the fruit is of the nature of sattva, and stainless. But of rajas the fruit is sorrow. Ignorance is the fruit of tamas. (16)

“From sattva is brought forth knowledge, from rajas comes greed. Confusion and bewilderment and ignorance spring from tamas. (17)

“Upwards go they who adhere to sattva, in the middle are they who are of the nature of rajas, downwards go they of the nature of tamas who adhere to the ways of the lowest quality. (18)

“When the seer recognises that there is no actor other than the qualities, and knows that which is beyond the qualities, he approaches unto my being. (19)

“Transcending these three qualities which bodies bring forth, the Imbodied One, freed from birth, death, old age, and sorrow, attains immortality.” (20)

Arjuna said:

“By what characteristics is the one who has transcended these three qualities [known], O lord ! What [his] conduct ? And how overcomes he these three qualities ?” (21)

The Holy One said:

“He who hateth not illumination, nor progress, nor bewilderment too when they prevail, O son of Pāndu, nor longs for [them] when vanished away, (22)

“Who, sitting as one unconcerned, is not shaken by the qualities, who abides and is not moved, [saying] ‘It is the qualities which function,’ (23)

“Who is the same in sorrow and pleasure, who is self-contained, to whom a clod, a stone, and gold are as one, to whom the loved and unloved are as one. Who is steadfast, to whom censure and praise of himself are as one, (24)

“Who is the same in honor and disgrace, the same to the parties of friends or foes, who hath abandoned all exertion [for self], – he is said to have transcended quality. (25)

“And he who serves me with unswerving devotion by yoga, completely transcending these qualities, accommodates himself to the nature of Brahman. (26)

“For I am the dwelling place of the Brahman, of immortality, of the undecaying, of perpetual law [dharmasya] and unalloyed bliss.” (27)


Thus in the Holy

Bhagavad-Gītā. fourteenth

Address, by name —


(Union by separation from the three qualities).